Leeds MPs welcome city HQ plan as Labour shrugs off the move

Conservative MPs in Leeds have welcomed plans to open a new HQ in the city to bolster the "blue wall".

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 3:22 pm
Updated Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 3:26 pm
Alec Shelbrooke.
Alec Shelbrooke.

But the announcement by Conservative co-chair Amanda Milling at the opening of the party's virtual conference was dismissed by Labour which said: "The north shrugs."

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Conservative Party to open new campaign headquarters in Leeds

The Tories won a series of shock victories in December in seats across the north of England which had previously been regarded as part of Labour's solid "red wall".

The party believes a Leeds base will consolidate its new "blue wall".

One Tory MP in the Leeds area, Alec Shelbrooke, who has represented Elmet and Rothwell since 2010, posted: "We've been steadily building a Conservative stronghold in Leeds since 2010 - winning parliamentary seats and taking council seats from Labour.

"This is a great move and a great location to build upon our 'blue wall' base in the North."

But the Labour Party in Yorkshire and the Humber responded on Twitter, saying: "The north shrugs.

"When we asked for a fairer share and more of what the south gets.... this isn't exactly what we had in mind."

Of the eight parliamentary constituencies in the Leeds City Council area, three are currently held by the Conservatives - Elmet and Rothwell; Pudsey; and Morley and Outwood - all the others are held by Labour.

But none of these seats were Tory "blue wall" gains in 2019, although nearby Wakefield was one of their shock victories.

Some of the most dramatic examples of the party's inroads into Labour's "red wall" were slightly further down the M1 with victories in constituencies like Don Valley, Bolsover and Rother Valley.

But Leeds is well located between this cluster and the north-east, where the Conservative also made unexpected gains in December, including in seats such as Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Sedgefield.